Cricket was, rather should be, a test of firm resolve and a side’s character. It shouldn’t be made to look like a test of the viewers’ nerve. The 2019 World Cup is around, and according to purists who seek in the epitome of the mother of all cricketing battles, some good old euphoria is common. However, that a return series must be built on the loose logic of getting two cricketing outfits more practice than usual- sounds like a pretty absurd logic.
Sri Lanka are playing India. That sounds slightly bland. Right?
But if you look at the events in the not so distant past when Team India travelled to Sri Lanka in July / August – the summer series immediately throws up a byline, rather an apt summarisation: drag.
One wonders, what’s the psyche behind having within a spate of two-three months a return series? With all due respect, if the ICC are to actually measure the real potential of Test match cricket then considering a neutral venue for a return series (between two sides that have just played one another) should offer some biting excitement.
In the lighter vein, given the utter decay of Sri Lanka’s recalcitrant batting performance, thus far, merely switching on to the earlier series’ highlights is enough.
After all, the space between August to December is barely four months. Not that the Sri Lankan Cricket Board owes anything to India that they’ve sent their players like lambs led to slaughter.
Save Suranga Lakmal’s domination with an impressive 4-for; there’s no respite for the touring Sri Lankans. If fans saw an utter surprise that lasted for no more than four sessions; that’s just 2 days of cricketing action (in First Test) then in the Second Test there was only one-way traffic.
All roads led to India. It pretty much seemed that Sri Lanka were a mice that entered a lion’s one-way street.
It was bitter. It was woeful.
It, of course, won’t be a misnomer to state that so obvious and well expected has been Kohli and Pujara’s assertion over Sri Lanka that it seems Indians have been horse-whipping a suppressed, lesser mortal of an opponent who perhaps committed a hara-kiri in daring its master.
In circumspect, the recent series was a tad bit interesting, particularly for the Indian viewer. The bludgeoning blades of Dhawan and Pujara at Pallakele and Colombo earlier this year would have sufficed for enough entertainment than bothering oneself to watch Kohli mow down hapless Lankans akin to a Gulliver befalling listless locals.
Worse still, it seems the commoners have dared to enter Gulliver’s paradise.
Why, one wonders, are Sri Lanka and India playing another series yet again when just a while ago the two sub-continental sides locked horns and produced some utterly one-sided cricket?
Is it too hard to remember Kohli’s men’s absolute domination of the island nation?
Just a while ago, Indian batsmen pummeled hundreds with the evident ease of a bloke lifting a packet of cotton. It was too easy; lame bowling, half-hearted Sri Lankan fielding with just Rangana Herath trying out something.
No one bit his or her nails. You didn’t catch the homebound spectator jump in utter surprise, rubbing eyes from the visual treat of an uncanny cricketing surprise.
Usually, the moment any side has India on tenterhooks, the average die-hard fan takes the toenail in the mouth in obvious nervousness.
But there was nothing of that sort.
But this is a rather strange series, in addition to being India-painted and India-dominated. It’s as if a 3 Test, 5 ODI and 1 T20 – already played earlier between India and Sri Lanka- weren’t enough to fetch advertisers a lame buck on their pitch, one’s seeing two more T20s added this time around.
One couldn’t be bothered to know who’s the buck been betted upon. The way Chandimal, Perera, Mathews, Thirimannee have conducted themselves, there’s more likely to be a demonstration of school-boy cricket (the kind we’ve seen Windies play before Chase, Hope arrived)- unless they are to catch Kohli’s side entirely off guard again.